“Dance Moms” recap: Jill Is Going To Cost Me A Lot Of Money In Therapy

Boy howdy, do things get rolling quickly on this little crankfest! I haven’t even come close to maxing out my admiration for the drama mama’s fashion choices when the studio door opens and evil strolls in. I mean, Jill. Sporting Linda Evans’ Dallas hairdo. And another pon-shirt. And approximately half her body weight in eye makeup.

The Ladies of the Loft are appalled! See? Appalled!

Jill is undaunted. She wants back in at the ALDC and she doesn’t care what she has to do to get there. Including barging in on Pyramid time, causing the Abster to declare her officially off her rocker.

Jill’s still undaunted.

In walks Kendall clutching her Pyramid Picture and Jill firmly escorts her over to the line of little dancers, then goes and stands hopefully next to Melissa — a.k.a., the least likely to punch her in the dangerously shellacked side of her Linda Evans hairdo.

The girls all gather ’round to hug their wayward comrade, but Abby ain’t having of this bygone-is-bygones nonsense. You wanna see Kendall, she tells her students, you invite her over to play. That’s your business. This is Abby’s. And Jill is way too up in it.

Wait. What? What is happening right now? After all that huffin’ and puffin’, Abby suddenly just moves along, allowing Jill and Kendall to stay right where they are? Oh fer the … could we maybe even try to pretend that they actually defected to Candy Apples? I mean, more than the exaggerated expressions up there on the ladies’ mugs? Yeeesh. Seriously. Yeeesh. Where’s my Mommy Juice?

In any case, we’re going to Starpower right down the road in Lancaster, PA, but don’t let that fool you. Lots of people from Jersey and New York there. And Canton, oh please oh please?

Pyramid time.

Bottom is Mackenzie for her role in fumbling last week’s trio.
Next is Nia for her role in fumbling last week’s trio.
Anybody wanna guess who’s next, since there are three people in a trio? Yes. Paige. She didn’t do anything wrong, but Abby’s still holding her responsible for the fumbling in last week’s trio. Sounds about right.

Row two begins with Chloe. She should be able to run with the 12-year-olds.

Ennnh! Next up is Brooke and we’re still going to pretend that it’s merely because she was a facially expressive standout in the group dance. Still no mention of the Paint the Pictures solo that earned her the second place finish we were told went to Payton.

Top of the pyramid is Maddie, because not only can she run with the 12-year-olds, she can run them down.

This week, solos go to Maddie and — surprise! — Paige. Ohhhh, looka that. Abby’s baitin’ Kelly! Ooof, and Dr. Holly. Because Nia’s doing yet another LaQueefa/Quifa solo. Called Working Girl. And Nia looks delighted. Noooooo, Nia! This is not something to be delighted about! Especially when Abby — not-funny-but-comically and oh-so-ironically dressed in lily-white eyelet — announces that she wants to see Nia further up the pyramid and surely the only way to accomplish that is to resurrect the African-American working girl with the massive ‘fro.

I’m honestly not sure I could get more offended. In fact, I think I may barf. Especially when she tacks on that the LaQuifa number has Nia written all over it. Becauuuuuuuuse ….?

Uck. Ucky. Can we please move on?

Another big-kid import for the group number. A boy this time. Because it’s about a vampire and apparently girls can’t be vampires. Everyone is thrilled to death with this, except for Big Mac, who thinks boys are ICKY! ICKY, ICKY,ICKY, ICKY!  Not all of them, Mac! Look how happy you are snuggled into the armpit of the Biebs (I snagged your photo, Christi. This is Christi’s photo.).

The boy vampire is named Nick and the girls super-trust him. Upstairs in the Mom Loft, Jill just burrows right back in with the moms, apparently unscathed. Well, maybe not. Melissa just told her that she thought she was Cathy when she first walked in, courtesy of the the new ‘do. And that she got lucky because her repatriation into Abbyland was without outright mutiny. “But she didn’t let me put Kendall’s picture on the Pyramid!” protests Cathy-Jean Evans. And the mothers fall out.

Oops. Not so fast. Abby Lee just dismissed Kendall from practice early. So’s she in or she’s out? I guess we’ll have to see.

Apparently Abby also learned her lesson from Kelly’s “Mommyography” throw down, because she’s giving Paige a solo that’s challenging and all grown up. In other words, blessedly low on poses and butt shakes.

Jill did not learn her lesson one bit. She marches right in on Paige’s practice and wonders if maybe this would be a good time for Abby to talk. Holy obtuse, lady! For real! And yet it works again. Abby says she’ll run Paige’s dance one last time then dismiss her so they can confab. Uh, if  confab means reaming Jill out for pulling her kid and then expecting both to be welcomed back in with open arms, a solo and no groveling. Or paperwork.

Oh. My. Jebus. This is what Abby Lee looks like demonstrating Nia’s solo.

Hubby Rik is having a seizure, and I can’t decide if this ridiculata makes me forgive Abby just a little or be ten times as irritated. Which, I’m not sure is actually possible.

Oh. She meant that kind of working girl. The Melanie Griffith/Joan Cusack kind. Or, say, the Dr. Holly kind. Abby says the good doctor acts like no one else has ever worked and raised a kid before she did it. Yeah. Everyone who gets “smug” when they look at Dr. Holly, raise your hand. Anyone? Anybody?

<crickets>

And here’s the maligned professor her ownself, better late than never. She gets filled in on Jill’s antics and then gets a load of the resurrection of LaQuifa. She’s, um, less than thrilled.

During group practice the next — or maybe the same — day, Abby Lee gets an important phone call from Carooollllllll, the casting director of Drop Dead Divaaaa, who sounds like she grew up in Fargo. Or Wis-caaaaan-sin, like me. And guess who gets the role of Little Deb? Oh c’mon! You knew how this was going to work out even before it was all over the interwebs.

• See Abby and Maddie on Drop Dead Diva August 12!

The mothers don’t exactly handle the news of Maddie’s victory with a terrific amount of grace. Kelly wants to know why the only brunette landed a role that was supposed to go to a blonde. Christi opines that Maddie had the role before she even auditioned, courtesy of Abby Lee. Holly jumps on the bitchy bandwagon.

Man, I feel for Maddie. A big-eyed and bunny-toothed little 9-year-old girl without a gloating bone her body has been turned into a pseudo-villain on a reality series through no fault of her own. The kid is near-pathologically programmed to please the adults in her life, even as a legion of other adults — in her own world and a viewing audience of millions — are programmed to root against her. Mercifully, the only people who never fall for that nonsense are her fellow dancers — ostensibly the ones who should harbor the most jealousy of all. I’m officially jumping on the kiddie bandwagon.

GOOD FOR YOU, MADDIE! Go knock the socks off of that Drop Dead Diva cast! And if you don’t, I promise I’ll still love you. Now go make Abby give you a dance that doesn’t look like every single one you’ve ever done.

Abby just yelled at Nia for having too much hair. Abby just told the girls to let Nick bite them.

Speaking of kiddie pawns, here comes Jill — even though she’s still a couple quarts low on the groveling and paperwork — dragging an exhausted-looking Kendall behind her. Jill’s wearing another pon-shirt. Is there something wrong with her arms that I should know about? And once again, Abby lets Kendall stay. Not only does Abby let Kendall stay, but Kendall magically knows the group dance choreography and knows it so well that Abby is considering pulling Mac and Paige and Nia and subbing Kendall in.

Sigh. Just … sigh.

Time for a large-group lecture from Professor Miller about being a good role model — especially when it pertains to appreciating Maddie’s DDD supremacy. In an aside, Christi handily points out all the ways in which the pot is forgetting she’s twice as black as the kettles — especially where her petulance at Chloe’s scoring the Lux video and the Joffrey Ballet School scholarship is concerned. In the studio, Dr. Holly asserts that she is entitled to her opinion based upon her age, her credentials and her American citizenship and Abby suggests that she use her credentials to do something about Nia’s hair. Holly says an extended variation of “you first” with the makeovers and the girls can’t conceal their amusement. This is not turning out to be a very good lecture about role-modeling at all.

Guess what kind of solo Maddie has? Guess. It’s called I Can’t Find the Words. And I can’t find the words to describe the loathsomeness of what happens next. Abby makes Maddie display every single crown she has ever won to the rest of the children. Abby says those crowns could have gone to any of the dancers — except that all of us and all of them know that is far from the truth. Without equal opportunity and attention there can be no crown. Maddie says she didn’t want to participate in this revolting exercise and I believe her. Melissa tries to intervene, but beats a hasty, tearful retreat when Abby turns her wrath on her and the mothers offer little sympathy.

And then we’re at Lancaster. No word if Maddie’s crowns came along for the ride. But Jill and Kendall did. Jill says that Kendall still has a fire in her belly — and she certainly does, but it’s not the competitive kind. The girl feels sick and I don’t blame her. Abby helpfully tells her to quit blubbering. Then she turns her wrath on Nia, who has finally had all she can take, blanks on her dance and also starts to cry. Whoa. Dr. Holly has turned over some kind of crazy new hard-assed leaf, because she stays firmly in her seat and tells her flustered child to suck it up, remember her dance and get out there and do it up proper.

Thankfully, Nia is dressed more like a show girl with a briefcase than a ’70s blaxploitation glamazon and the solo is simply called Workin’ Girl with no mention of LaQuifa. In the audience Maddie mirrors her movements and looks like she wishes she could try her hand at a dance with some sass. Nia kills the dance and finishes it off with her signature death drop. She and all her proudly braided hair score a standing O.

Maddie’s solo is lovely and flawless. But I have to agree with reader Debra — we’ve all seen Maddie’s multitudes of crowns, so what would it hurt to give the girl a solo like one of Chloe’s — one that doesn’t require her to dress in childish frocks and hair bows and make orphaned-waif expressions? If it doesn’t work out, we can go back to the old way. Yes? Anyone else agree with me and Debra?

Paige, in a sophisticated, sparkly black costume, goes out there and proves she’s as able an acrobat as her sister. The Creme de la Creme, all right. Abby’s so pleased she says that if Paige wants a private lesson from here on out, she can have one. For free, I am sure.

Awards time.

Nia gets ninth place and a special award for fiercest attitude.
Paige gets sixth.
Only 3/10 of a point separates first place from second, but the fraction works out in Maddie’s favor.

Backstage, Abby’s pleasure at how well her soloists did is tempered by the sight of Kendall with the group dance’s requisite bow in her hair, even though she has yet to be granted a spot in the performance. Jill protests that Melissa handed the hair ornaments out and all she did was take one — with perhaps a million times the fury than the situation merits. Then she wonders why not one of these gee-dee mothers don’t rush to her defense.

Abby gives up on trying to shout some sense into her and returns to the critical matter of fleshing out the cast of her group dance. She asks Brooke, Nick and Paige to step up and run the choreography. Brooke performs a flawless standing back tuck, and, flush from her solo success, little sister Paige wants to try it, too. The rest of the grownups protest, but over Paige goes, coming down wrong on her foot, with a nasty crunch.

So much for Paige. Nia gets cut, too. And then Kendall, who resumes her tears.

Jill — who is making Leslie Ackerman look like the Queen of Rational — demands to know if Abby enjoys making Kendall cry. I can’t decide if she really is dense enough to believe that she should be the guest of honor at a party to which she invited herself or … I can’t come up with an “or.” Dense it is.

The group dance will be performed by Maddie, Chloe, Brooke and Nick. Christi says Nick is the pinnacle of good partners because he brings out the best in his fellow dancers — and that certainly seems to be the case. It’s also very good manners for a vampire, you ask me.

And it amounts to a first place finish.

OK, someone stop me before I do this. I will not check the official results to see if Kendall actually danced. And if everyone placed where we were told they did. I will not. I will not. I will too. Oh, hey, everything checks out! Right down to Maddie not coming home with a Jr. Miss Starpower crown to add to her collection.

Abby can’t resist sticking it one last time to Mrs. Vertes, who sniffs that she won’t be back at the studio until Abby notifies her that she is ready to make Kendall a star. Abby starts to offer up a resounding “What the hell?!” but Jill shushes her. Jill shushed Abby Lee Miller. Abby pipes up anyway to say that she doesn’t solicit students. Kendall can sign back up for class like everybody else … and earn her spot on the competition team like everybody else. Jill says Abby is a punisher who only cares about herself and not the little children. (Well, mostly, but in this case we’re back to the pot calling the kettle selfish.) And then she demands that Abby be quiet.

Ohhhhh, lady. That hair dye has seeped a little too far in. To prove my point, Jill cements her happy day in Lancaster by informing everyone that they suck and leaves in a huff.

And yet she’s back next week … er, the week after. No new Dance Moms next week because of the Olympics. GO Team USA!

New episodes of Dance Moms air Tuesday nights at 9/8CT on Lifetime.
Images and video: © 2012 A&E Television Networks. All Rights Reserved.

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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